By Barbara Kessler

College-bound high schoolers looking for an environmentally conscientious college should have no shortage of guidance this year. The Sierra Club has joined the Princeton Review in assessing the green creds of U.S. universities.

Actually, the venerable environmental group was first out with the idea, launching a “Cool Schools” rundown in 2007. Their second annual review, in the group’s Sept./Oct.Sierra magazine, settles on list of the top ten campuses — Ten That Get It — that includes colleges of all sizes from the East to the West.

While not as voluminous as the Princeton Review’s analysis of 534 institutions of higher education that produced an inaugural 2008 list, the Sierra list surely will be of interest to those seeking many opinions on the place they could call home for at least four years and to which they’ll likely become highly indebted, literally.

The list has some overlap with the Review’s (both place Middlebury College and Arizona State University in the top ten), which could be taken as reassurance that the two groups did their homework. But Sierra also offers some new top greenies, singling out the University of Colorado at Boulder and Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, for honorary spots among the environmentally elite.

Sierra includes near misses for the top spots on a page of honorable mentions, and places those with an unfair advantage because their curriculum is focused on environmental issues on a list called shining stars.

It also throws down the gantlet to a few colleges the Sierra crew thinks need to get their heads in the game. That list: 5 That Fail.

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